A bright winters day and a trip to Walthamstow Wetlands in east London, in search of a Little Bunting which has been present for a number of weeks. This rare visitor to the UK breeds in Northern Norway and Russia and winters in Nepal and China, so this bird is way off course. By nature, it is a skulking bird so on arriving at the area where it had been seen it was just a case of scanning all the small birds coming to the feeding tray. It took about 90 minutes but eventually, I saw a small bird moving behind the tray and then there it was, clearly visible. It moved quickly to the right and then disappeared into the vegetation. Some others present continued to see it for a minute or so in the vegetation but then it was gone. I later heard that it came back about 2 hours later.

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Little Bunting. Photo by Vince Garvey (https://www.flickr.com/photos/baggieman/)

After this, I took a walk around the reservoirs where the usual array of waterfowl were present. The highlight was a drake Greater Scaup, which is not common inland so was a good record.

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Greater Scaup (m). Photo by Andrew Reding (https://www.flickr.com/photos/seaotter/)

Great Crested Grebe

Grey Heron

Common Linnet (top), Great Cormorant (bottom left), Canada Goose (bottom right)

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Greater Scaup [sp] (Aythya marila)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Feral Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Hadrian’s Wall

Posted: February 21, 2018 in History, Roman History
Tags: ,

On our way home from Weymouth, Sue and I made a lunchtime stop at Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve, near Ringwood in Hampshire. I had never been to this reserve before, in fact, I had never heard of it till a couple of days ago. Which is quite a surprise when I read what was on offer here. The evening Gull roost (which as lunchtime visitors we did not see) presently includes 5 rarer Gull species. The stars are 2 American Gulls, Thayer’s Gull and Ring-Billed Gull along with Caspian Gull, Iceland Gull and Yellow-legged Gull together with thousands of the commoner Gull species.

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Anyway, we were too early for roosting Gulls but we started on Ibsey Lake where there was an amazing 40 Goosander on the far bank along with 15 Pintail and a single Pink-footed Goose. Out on the lake were a few Goldeneye together with Common Pochard and Tufted Duck.

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Goosanders. Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Our next stop was the Woodland hide where we were treated to a wonderful display of woodland birds including some beautiful Siskin and Brambling along with Chaffinch, Dunnock, Long-tailed Tits, Nuthatch, Great and Blue Tits.

Brambling

Siskin (left), Wigeon (top right) and Deer (bottom right)

On the way back to the car park, we were directed to a spot where we could see a Great White Egret and Little Egret resting in the reed-bed and then were treated to a rather confiding deer (probably a Fallow Deer) which fed quite happily as we watched it from the path

This was a short visit but I would really like to visit again and spend a lot more time exploring this wonderful reserve.

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Goosander / Common Merganser [sp] (Mergus merganser)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

On the way to Ferrybridge for coffee this morning a Eurasian Sparrowhawk flew over the harbour at Weymouth. On the rising tide, a flock of 25 Ringed Plovers together with 3 Ruddy Turnstone and a single Dunlin were feeding on the mudflats. There were only 6 Brent Geese today and a scan through the gulls revealed 4 species but no Mediterranean Gull. There was still a good number of Red-breasted Merganser present. Two Rooks were rather a surprise visitor and a Eurasian Skylark was heard singing.

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Ringed Plover

On the way back to our cottage we dropped in at Lodmoor where we flushed a Kingfisher as we approached the viewpoint. Once again there were good numbers of Common Snipe along with Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits. A single Mediterranean Gull was present with the other Gulls.

Common Snipe

House Sparrow (top left), Dunnock (bottom left) and Northern Lapwing (right)

Late afternoon we heard that a Eurasian Spoonbill had been seen arriving at Lodmoor so we re-visited the viewpoint and after a few minutes the bird was seen flying from the reed-bed into a ditch out of view. Shortly afterwards it took flight and was seen flying away towards Weymouth.

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Spoonbill. Photo by Joe Pell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pellyutd/)

 

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

A visit to Ferrybridge today. It was reasonably quiet bird-wise but it was a lovely day and very pleasant as I walked along the Fleet.

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The best sighting was 30 Red-breasted Merganser present at various places along the Fleet. Today only 3 Mediterranean Gulls could be seen with the Black-headed Gulls but the only waders present were 3 Oystercatchers.

Oystercatcher (top left), Herring Gull (top right) and Red-breasted Mergansers (bottom)

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
European Shag [sp] (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Today some birding mixed with a trip to Poole. Our first stop was at Hamworthy beach on the north of Poole Harbour. A group of Red-breasted Merganser were present and eventually, a distant Black-throated was located out towards the main harbour.

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Black-throated Diver. Photo by Tony Morris (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonymorris/)

Our second stop was at Poole Park, where a good number of Goldeneye were on the lake together with good numbers of common waterfowl. 7 Little Grebe was a notable number.

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Poole Park

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Common Goldeneye (m)

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Black-throated Loon [sp] (Gavia arctica)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)

Started the morning at Hamm beach on Portland Harbour, where the conditions were arctic with a strong wind blowing in from the bay. A single Red-breasted Merganser was present along with 14 Ruddy Turnstone and a Meadow Pipit, but no sign of the divers or Grebes that had been frequenting the harbour.

Ruddy Turnstone

A Common Kestrel was actively hunting along the vegetation at the edge of the water and allowed me to come quite close

Walking along the Fleet, an inlet from the harbour, a Male Eurasian Stonechat was active in the vegetation.

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The Fleet at Ferrybridge

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Eurasian Stonechat (m)

A small flock of Brent Geese were by the visitor centre and 40 Mediterranean Gulls were on the high tide gull roost along with Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull. Had a distant view of a Black-necked Gull along with a Little Grebe, which gave a good comparator. Also present were 14 Red-breasted Merganser.

                   Meditteranean Gulls with Black-headed Gulls (top), Brent Geese (middle)                         and Red-breasted Merganser (bottom)

In the afternoon I visited RSPB Radipole Lake where along with a good variety of water-birds the highlights were a Water Rail, a Bearded Reedling and 2 Western Marsh Harriers.

Shelduck (top), Great Cormorant (bottom left), Herring and Black-headed Gulls (bottom centre) and Northern Shoveler (bottom right)

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Black-necked Grebe [sp] (Podiceps nigricollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)

Common Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

The weather this morning could not have been more different to yesterday. Crisp and clear and with the sun shining. I decide to take a walk around RSPB Lodmoor, the local nature reserve. But first a stop at the Oasis Cafe at Overcombe on Weymouth Bay, where a Red-Necked Grebe had been seen the previous evening. But sadly, it is not to be seen this morning. The marshes at Lodmoor are separated from Weymouth Bay by the coast road and the first thing that strikes me is a large number of Common Snipe that can be seen sunning themselves in open view (By the time I had completed the walk I must have seen over 20 of this normally secretive wader).

Other species present include a number of ducks together with a group of Canada Geese and a single Brent Goose. There were 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a group of around 20 Dunlin. On the north side of the reserve, I got a quick view of 2 Bearded Reedlings, but there was no sign of the Greater Scaup which has been wintering on the pools here.

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Canada Geese with Brent Goose (on right)

Robin (left), Teal (top right) and Black-tailed Godwit (bottom right)

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Great Snipe (Gallinago media)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Naturelog: 3rd February

Posted: February 12, 2018 in Birds, Hampshire, Natural History, UK
Tags:

Not an auspicious start to our trip to Dorset as it poured with rain from the time Sue and I left London. We had planned to make a stop on the way and as we made our way south-west we debated whether or not to stop. As we approached Chawton in Hampshire, the rain eased a little and so we decided we would stop. Chawton is best known as the home of Jane Austen’s brother and the place where she spent her last years, but this is not the reason we are stopping. Chawton has become home this winter to a flock of Hawfinches, usually a rare bird in the UK. Last Autumn, however, there was an eruption and it is estimated that the wintering population is at least 10 times normal. In some places, flocks of up to 200 have been reported. Chawton village has hosted a flock of around 30 birds. As we park in the car park, the rain starts again but we decided to check out if the tea shop was open. It’s not but from the car park, we can see 4 Hawfinches in the top of a tree, so our visit is not in vain.

Hawfinch. Photos by Segey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

And so onto Preston, just outside Weymouth our base for the next week.